What I am going to say now is going to invoke all kinds of reactions that is possible.
I will get love, support, empathy. I will have people laughing at me. I will have people calling me crazy, if I think of the mildest name calling I would get. Most would scoff, calling it phony. But, the worst of all of them would be, when people would start walking on eggshells around me.
I have been battling depression. For a while now. It feels since forever sometimes. I have not been open about it for obvious reasons. It’s such a stigma in our society. Most people don’t understand it. And like always, people would dis what they don’t know. Fear the unknown. But now, I don’t care. People who genuinely cherish me, get it. Even they don’t, they try. And that’s exactly what this is about.
I know a lot of you feel this. A lot of you wonder if you are depressed. I know a lot of you who actually are. This is for all of you and your near and dear ones who don’t know what to do. And also to mine…
Don’t fall for the popular image society associates with depression. Somebody with a gloomy face, perpetually sad. It isn’t like that for all of us. Of course some days are bad. Today, I am having a very bad day.
I wake up tired, with no interest in what the day has to offer. I don’t want to get out of bed. And if you know me, you know that sounds almost impossible. Somebody who makes “To do lists” to remind her to make “To do lists”. Its’s 11:30 a.m. and in the last 3 and a half hours, I have gotten around to just folding clothes and putting them in the cupboard. 3.5 hours…. I have also curled up in the bed and sobbed my eyes out. Guess, that could account for 30 minutes.
I feel stupid, foolish, unlovable, dispensable and the worst..an incompetent mother. And, I am none of that.
I have no self respect, no self esteem and zero self confidence. And, that is not true.
I do feel all of that, but it doesn’t make me one. And that is a reminder I have to constantly give myself. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Some days, it feels like the world is the worst place to be in and I can’t find or give happiness ever. Some days, I feel like I am on the top of the world. Life is beautiful and I can’t wait to go out and live it.
I feel all of that and a lot more. A lot of you do. Guess, the messed up serotonin levels in our brains get all the credit. But, none of us should blame ourselves for any of it. It’s not the end. If you get Diabetes, do you give up on life and wait for the end or think if you just ignore it, it will go away? Your high blood sugar levels are nothing but the result of a bad day. You don’t. You go to the Doctor, get your pills and better your lifestyle. You work on living a good life managing it. If you ignore, your body will slowly be devoured by this disease, leaving you empty and hollow. It’s the same with Depression. It is a disease which needs treatment. Whether it is just therapy and lifestyle modifications or medications.
And that’s exactly what you have to do. Or support your loved one, struggling with depression to do. Seek help. Get help.
I did not let a single soul in my life know what I was going through. For years. I battled it alone. Apart from my Therapist, I guess the only person who knew and understood it was my Dog, Reiko. She would come up and lean on to me every time I broke down and felt so lonely. God, I miss her so!
Everyone around me didn’t understand why I would behave the way I did. They got angry at me, they lost faith in me. They gave up. But, the day I chose to include them in my struggle, everything changed. For the better. I know my family was heartbroken to hear me talk about it. I saw it on their faces. But, I also saw my husband become more supportive. my father become more patient, my mother more understanding and my sister remind me that I can depend on her. I saw my friends shower me with unconditional love and support whenever I reached out to them. I felt stronger. My belief that I could win this battle was reinforced 10 fold.
So, why should I hide it? Why should you? Why be ashamed of it? You are struggling every day and trying to come on top of it. It feels like the world is trying to drown you and you are fighting for that breath of air, swimming against the current. You are a fighter. And you should be proud of that. Wear it as a badge on your shoulder.
And those of you, who have a family or friend fighting depression, do the same. Be proud of them. Encourage them and support them. Stand by them while they battle it out. Be their rock, their guide. Be patient, be loving. Don’t treat them like they are dying and you have to do everything they want. They aren’t, and you don’t have to spoil them. But, you would have to experiment, explore and find out the right way to reach them. To get through to them and help them out. It is going to be very hard. No matter how much you love them, you are going to get frustrated. There will be days when you feel that nothing you do is working out. Sometimes, they’ll want to be left alone, leave them. But, never let them feel lonely. You will be angry at them for not opening up to you. For not seeing how much you love them and care. Trust me, they do know. They are hating themselves for putting you through this struggle. They feel like a burden. They can’t share even if they want to, because sometimes they don’t know how to tell. What to tell.
But, they appreciate and adore you for being there for them. For giving them this chance. For believing in them and holding their hand.
Help them get out of that lonely, miserable darkness and walk to the light.